All posts by Mr Hari Covert

I am a passionate foodie, former chef and also ex hotel & restaurant inspector. I have been immersed in food for over forty years so its been a lifetimes work...

Hola Marden…

This is all part of our plans of feeding the masses… so on Friday 14th June 2019  we will be popping up in the village of Marden.

To be precise we are going to be at the “Cidery” of Turners Cider, Marden for just one night. 

The plan is to rock up with our big paella pans and we will be cooking fresh pans of mixed Meat & Seafood Paella or Vegetarian version that we will serve with a complimentary glass of cider (there will be more to purchase on the night) and to round it all off we will serve local fresh strawberries and cream.

The idea is for guests to bring their own chairs or blankets and to chill out in the adjacent orchard underneath some plum trees as we will also have a live band that will entertain you all and create what we hope will be a mini festival atmosphere.

It will be informal, chilled and a great way to start a Summers weekend.

Music will be provided by Ray Rich who is a highly acclaimed musician that will play a mix of  Jazz, Blues, Soul & Serious Rock ‘n’ Roll. We hope you will join us and ensure we have a fun filled evening. There is limited capacity for this event so we do recommend you book early.

To purchase tickets we are offering “Early Bird” for those that book by the end of the month. Those booking thereafter will be charged slightly more. (please see below)

Guest are asked to bring their own chairs, blankets and wet weather gear. We will kick the evening off at 7pm prompt and will finish by 10pm  (please make sure you have torches to aid your return to your vehicles)

Looks as good as it tastes!

Date & Time:  Friday 14th June 7:00pm to 10:00pm

Venue: The Orchard behind Turners Cider – Marden

Full details on how to find us etc will be given once booking is confirmed with payment


Menu:

Freshly Cooked Mixed Meat & Seafood Paella

(Vegetarian version also available by prior order )

1/2 Pint glass of Medium Dry Cider

Fresh Kentish Strawberries & Cream

Live Music by the Ray Rich Band

Prices:  Early Bird Ticket £20 per person (book by May 31st 2019)

From June 1st: Tickets are £25 per person

To book please complete the booking form below and we will then send a secure on line payment link for you to confirm your booking.

Cancellations are non refundable seven days prior to the event.

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Hola Battersea…

We are bringing our Covert dining to an exciting new venue in central London.

The Battersea Design Works is the brainchild of serial entrepreneur Alastair Jessel (Formerly Taywell Ice Cream) He has recently just opened a new Co- Working space on Battersea Park Road  where a former stone shop has been converted to house 30 work stations for those wishing to have all the trappings of an office without the financial hassle of office rents etc.

The space has everything you could want plus as an added bonus a beautiful Mediterranean style garden to the rear where we will be cooking up a large pan of  freshly cooked Paella serve up a welcome glass of Sangria and finish the whole thing off with some fresh English Strawberries and cream.

All are welcome to attend this special one off night  to see whats on offer and maybe even do a spot of Networking with like minded co workers?

To book this event all you need to do is head on over to their website to reserve your places. Bring a friend or two as well and lets make it a real party atmosphere…

Battersea Design Works Thursday 6th June  18:30 – 20:30

To Book your places please go directly via  this link

YCPS Take 6 Chefs Charity Dinner

We are helping to organise this big charity dinner on May 23rd – at the Oaks Restaurant in the MidKent College Maidstone working with the six chefs tasked to cook and serve a special 6 course menu to a sell out crowd.

The charity has just launched a Virgin Money Giving Page where the final 4 places that are up for grabs can be won via a prize draw. The final table is located within the kitchen beside the pass so in amongst all the action with the hustle and bustle.  If you fancy trying to bag the table then a simple £5 donation will suffice to get your name into a virtual hat…

This is a very unique event and one that will ensure the charity can continue to support the fabric of the church in a bustling village community.

To be in the virtual hat then make your donation here 

Demonstration “Covert Cook School” Lessons…

We felt it was about time we released some scheduled demonstration Covert Cook School lessons that will take place on a series of specific dates. The format will be a four and half hour demo of a three course meal that will give you  the opportunity to quiz yours truly and also get actively involved as well if you so wish. It will also give you plenty of tips on presentation and tricks of the trade to ensure you can replicate yourselves.

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I will reveal some of my classic supperclub dishes and tailor the class to be something for all levels of cook to be able to attempt at home.

We will kick the class off with a welcome coffee or tea with some homemade biscuits and then get stuck into the demo. The class will then end with you all sitting down and sampling what has been prepared. Recipe sheets will be provided so you can then head home and replicate.

The class will take place in my demonstration kitchen and will be just four persons so an intimate group of friends or perhaps a group of strangers where new friendships could be formed. If you wish to consume alcohol with you meal then feel free to bring a bottle! We can provide glasses etc – Soft drinks & water will be on hand for all.

The class will demonstrate a three course meal that you will be able to easily replicate at home and give you chance to grow in confidence and impress your own guests.

The classes will take place on the following dates

Tuesday 18th June 10am to 14:30pm

Tuesday 25th June 10am to 14:30pm 

Thursday 4th July 10am to 14:30pm 

Tuesday  9th July 10am to 14:30pm

Price : £70 per person inclusive – three course lunch , recipe sheets, welcome tea or coffee on arrival, soft drinks & water

To book please complete the following booking form and we will then send you a secure payment link to confirm your place.

A hot date in Ramsgate with “Harrison Ovens”…

THIS EVENT IS NOW SOLD OUT

For our March event we will be moving to a rather quirky venue in the town of Ramsgate!

We will be using the ”Harrison Ovens” industrial workshop  where they hand build a thing of beauty in this seaside town.

Daniel Thumwood the creator of the oven builds these much sought after pieces of kitchen kit that can now be found is some of the UK’s top kitchens and are now being exported to further afield as well.

We will be using their workshop demo kitchen as the venue for this month’s event and we will also be using their oven to showcase how versatile the oven is to cook with. We are planning to cook the whole meal using the oven wherever we can.

We are doing just the one night on Saturday 16th March. The first floor demo area overlooks the workshop and whilst it is a very basic space we will have enough space for just twelve diners and Daniel along with his wife Natalie will be on hand to tell the story behind their quest to bring charcoal cooking to the best professional and domestic kitchens. We also suggest guest wear warm clothing if the weather is chilly as there is little heating in this industrial space!

We will kick the evening off with some seasonal nibbles and a welcome drink before we will then serve the first course. A classic Elizabeth David inspired recipe of a Piedmontaise roasted red pepper stuffed with tomato, garlic and anchovies that will be slow roasted in the oven – we will then serve garnished with some Jamon Iberico and some good hunks of our now infamous Beer Bread… again we will cook this in the charcoal oven !!!

Our next course will be a  roasted field mushroom cap that will be topped with a light smoked haddock mousse – cooked in the oven this will we hope intensify the smoked flavour – we then serve this with a simple a root ginger flavoured beurre blanc sauce.

For our main course we will roast wild garlic pesto crusted lamb rumps direct over the charcoal embers to impart a good crust and smoky flavour sealing in those juices – a wedge of creamy potato gratin dauphinoise and then my ubiquitous green beans as garnish with the meat will complete this dish.

Next we have then decided to serve a classic savoury – using Kentish Winterdale Shaw a carbon neutral unpasteurised cheddar cheese from the top of Wrotham Hill that we will use in a classic welsh rarebit served on a slice of sour dough bread.

The final course will be something I tasted when I paid a visit to Daniel & Natalie in late 2018 to see the workshop… I test baked a loaf of my beer bread and Dan made his banana loaf that was exceedingly moreish and to die for.  A slice will come garnished with salted caramel roasted banana and served with a good dollop of clotted cream to round it all off… a fitting indulgent ending to the proceedings.

You are invited to bring your own drinks to consume with your meal – we will provide glasses, ice buckets and waters.

You will be sharing spaces on the two tables so this will be a fun night of like-minded foodies who we hope to introduce to the world of covert dining.

Please use the booking form below to reserve your places – we will then send you a booking deposit payment link to confirm your reservation.

Date: 16th March 2019

Arrival: 7:30pm

Dinner:  8:00pm Prompt

Venue: Harrison Ovens Ltd, Unit 2 Sharpes Place, Ellington Road, Ramsgate CT11 9TD

Price: £35 per person (a £5 Booking deposit per person to confirm your places – Balance owing payable in cash on the night)

Menu

Welcome Drink & Seasonal Nibbles

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Piedmontaise Stuffed Red Pepper served with Jamon Iberico & Beer Bread

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Roasted Flat Field Mushroom topped with a Smoked Haddock Mousse, Ginger Beurre Blanc

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Roasted Lamb Rump with a Wild Garlic Pesto Crust, Gratin Dauphinoise, Green Beans

++++

Winterdale Shaw “Welsh Rarebit” on Sour Dough Toast

++++

Banana Bread, Salted Caramel Banana, Clotted Cream

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Coffee & Petit Fours

Menu Subject to Ingredient Availability and Market Purchases.

Please use the form below to make your booking – we will email you a secure link to pay your £5 per person confirmation deposit. The balance owing is payable on the night with cash.

A walk on the wild side…

For our April event we will be taking the “Hari Covert” secret supperclub concept to a new venue for us and one we are extremely excited to share with you all.

We will be hiring the Oaks Restaurant located on the MidKent College campus in Maidstone. This is a lovely venue with a ultra modern dining area and a kitchen back of house that we cannot wait to use as it has some state of the art equipment. We are also using it to give the students  enrolled on catering courses the opportunity to work with us and gain first hand experience of working with some seasoned professionals. It is also a bit of a dummy run for the charity event we are also organising and hosting at the college on May 23rd.

Our event is for one night only on Friday April 12th  and we have named it a “Walk on the Wild Side” as we will be featuring Foraged Wild Ransom (Wild Garlic) that we will pick ourselves and then use in the main course, a delicate vibrant green soup that will see the addition of a smoked haddock quenelle and a soft boiled quails egg incorporated with it. We will also serve our homemade beer bread with some whipped chipotle butter.

The main course will see slow cooked pork cheeks shredded and reformed to resemble a brownie shape and served with a spicy “Mole Sauce” (Chocolate chilli sauce ) then the addition of a piece of crispy pork belly served with a roasted apple sauce and a garnish of wild garlic mashed potato and braised red cabbage.

To complete the meal we will offer a choice of either our favourite local cheese “Winterdale Shaw” – the unpasteurised carbon neutral cheese from the top of Wrotham hill.  Makers Robin & Carla Betts have been making this cheese now for over ten years and you can purchase on a Saturday morning direct from the dairy shop or locally from selected Waitrose Supermarkets and assorted food halls as well as other cheese stocking emporiums. We will also serve our now rather infamous Porridge Oat biscuits with it as well.

The alternative choice to the cheese is a homemade Orange Polenta Cake served with a Marmalade Coulis and a whipped mascarpone cream.

To round things off we will then serve either coffee or tea with some simple petit fours to complete your “covert” meal.

There will also be a licensed  bar with a selection of wines, beers and soft drinks available for purchase on the night direct from the college.

PLEASE NOTE – BRING YOUR OWN IS NOT POSSIBLE FOR THIS NIGHT

Date: Friday 12th April – The Oaks Restaurant – Mid Kent College Campus, Maidstone Kent

Time : 7:00pm Welcome Drink & Nibbles

Dinner: 7:30pm prompt

Price: £30 Per Person (service not included)

Drinks Choices payable on the night at the Bar

Menu 

Wild Garlic Soup with Smoked Haddock Quenelle & Soft Boiled Quails Egg served with  Homemade Beer Bread & Chipotle Butter

++++

Pulled Pork Cheeks, Chocolate Mole Sauce,  Crispy Pork Belly Roasted Apple Sauce, Wild Garlic Mashed Potatoes & Braised Red Cabbage

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Winterdale Shaw (Local Cheddar) & Porridge Oat Biscuits

or

Orange Polenta Cake, Marmalade Coulis & Mascarpone Cream

++++

Coffee or Tea with Petit Fours

Menu subject to market purchases and ingredient availability

Please use the form below to make your booking – we will email you a secure link to pay your £5 per person confirmation deposit. The balance owing is payable on the night with cash.

“Choice or No Choice” – that is the question?

I was discussing with an old friend the other day the modern restaurant trend to provide set menus with no choice and whether being this dictatorial is a step too far for the customer.

When I set up “Hari Covert’s” my menus have always in the most been a no choice affair and we will to a degree cater for allergies or dietary requirements where we can.

I can think of a few places in Kent who operate a set menu no choice or very limited menu policy and my friend bemoaned the one he wanted to go to was inflexible in its approach. Not only did he have to book so far in advance to secure a table there was not an alternative if you did or could not eat what was on offer!

He had some friends who went and were given a “bloody” pigeon breast that basically they could not eat and it has put him right off.

My argument would be do not go if for some reason you cannot be open minded enough to try even if no choice!

Now this for me is a major turnaround from the young lad who would not eat any meat as child unless it was chicken breast and was a very fussy eater!

Chefs today have to be so clever and so flexible to deal with so many food fads and allergies it does not surprise me to see them offer limited or no choice menus. It not only makes commercial sense it also is a very big challenge to come up with something to suit all tastes, palates and dietary needs.

Planning for the YCPS Charity Dinner in May has been a challenge not only trying to get the dishes out of the participating chefs but also to make the menu fit for all tastes.

In fact one likely attendee said to me recently  when I revealed the menu to them that they would not be able to eat the first course as it would contain an ingredient they could not stand – “just more for my partner”  they remarked (a good attitude to have)

Open mindedness is vital when partaking in a set or very limited choice meal and whilst I equally have foods I am not so keen on I always try to keep a really open mind to what I am being served.

It always use to annoy me when inspecting restaurants, especially Asian to be told the Chinese or Japanese scripted specials on the table were not for the “Western tastes”. Let me make that decision please.

Very true on one occasion when I ordered a “raw squid marinated in the bile of its own intestines”… mind you the crispy salmon skin on another occasion was a revelation that I still fantasize over.

So I thought it would be good to conduct a poll… let’s see what you all think (up to 2 answers allowed) and do feel free to comment about some of the surprised revelations that you have eaten and even your own food hell’s that you wish you hadn’t !!!

Fondue Nights at the Bicycle Bakery…

We are back in Tunbridge Wells on the 22nd & 23rd February for a pop up at the infamous Bicycle Bakery… Makers of some amazing Sourdough Bread and classic pastries. We thought how could we showcase their expertise and we thought why not use their Sourdough bread with a classic Swiss Cheese Fondue and a dessert inspired and produced by owner Jamie Tandoh – A yummy sounding Warm Coconut Arancini served with a fresh pineapple & cardamon salsa.

To kick the evening off we will serve a welcome drink with some simple nibbles and the first course will be a simple leaf salad garnished with “Kent Collection” cured Salamis and toasted walnuts whilst for vegetarians we will substitute with goats cheese & beetroot.

The fondue shared on each table (8 persons) will be made with an amalgamation of three Swiss Cheeses. Emmenthal, Gruyere & Appenzeller slowly heated with white wine & garlic and if the whole table are in agreement we will add some dried cepes to the fondue to give it a woody & earthy flavour much loved by the Swiss.

We recommend to drink with the meal you pick a dry white wine or a chilled beer as red wine with its tannin’s can cause the cheese to knot in your stomach and cause cramps. We will provide Ice Buckets and Glasses on the tables.

Just sixteen places each night (two tables of eight so you will need to share) will keep it intimate and a great way to meet new people.

To book your places please complete the form below and we will email you an invoice for a booking deposit of £5 per person (refundable if the event is cancelled) This will need to be done to secure your places.

We ask guests to arrive at 7;30pm and we will serve up at 8pm

Dates: Friday 22nd February & Saturday 23rd February

Time : 7:30pm Welcome Drink & Nibbles

Dinner: 8:00pm prompt

Price: £30 Per Person (service not included)

Menu

Welcome Drink & Simple Nibbles

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Leaf Salad with Kent Collection Cured Salamis & Toasted Walnuts

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Swiss Cheese Fondue with Bicycle Bakery Sourdough Bread (addition of dried Cepes if all in agreement on the table)

****

Coconut Arancini with a Fresh Pineapple & Cardamon Salsa

****

Coffee or Tea

Menu subject to market purchases and ingredient availability 

 

We are back…

OK it has been a hard slog but we are pleased to announce that we are now ready to start offering our home venue for Pop up events once again and our first one is now scheduled to take place on Saturday January 26th.

The leg gets stronger everyday and we are excited to be back at the stove and hopefully cooking up a storm.

We will kick this first event off with a four course menu for just the one night. We will start with a welcome drink and some simple seasonal nibbles on arrival and then the first course will be a homemade Pork and Apricot Terrine served with a homemade chutney.

Next we will serve a roasted Duck Breast served with a “Pepper Club” sauce… this is a cream based meat sauce flavoured with piquant green peppercorns and sherry soaked golden raisins. We will serve this with appropriate vegetable garnishes according to market purchases.

Our ubiquitous cheese course will feature on of our favourite seasonal cheeses as it only produced during the winter months  – a Vacherin Mont D’or which is an unpasteurised soft cows milk cheese from the Jura region that is wrapped with spruce bark.

Finally to finish the meal off we will reproduce a dessert we first learnt over forty years ago when working in Switzerland. A gateau “Audrey Hepburn” – this cake was allegedly one of the film stars favourites and is fundamentally a light flour less chocolate cake served with whipped cream and then my addition of some tart raspberry compote helps to cut its richness.

Coffee or Tea served with some petit fours will complete the meal. We will have just twelve places up for grabs so please book quickly as we suspect this will be a popular event considering this will be our first event since June 2018 !!!

Just complete the booking form below and we will email you a secure link for a £5 Booking Confirmation Deposit payable on line. We then request you to pay the balance owing on the night in cash. We will provide water and glasses on the table . Bring your own drinks to have with your meal.

Dates: Saturday 26th January 2019

Time : 7:30pm Welcome Drink & Nibbles

Dinner: 8:00pm prompt

Price: £40 Per Person (service not included)

Menu

Welcome Drink & Seasonal Nibbles

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Homemade Pork & Apricot Terrine with a homemade chutney

****

Roasted Duck Breast “Pepper Club”

Seasonal Vegetables & Potatoes

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Vacherin Mont D’Or with Crackers

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Chocolate Gateau ” Audrey Hepburn”

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Coffee or Tea with Petit Fours

Menu subject to market purchases and ingredient availability 

Please use the form below to make your booking – we will email you a secure link to pay your £5 per person confirmation deposit. Balance payable on the night with cash.

2018 What a year…

Well as we now approach the end of the year we can say 2018 has been a year of ups and downs… We would firstly like to wish you all a very Merry Christmas and thank you for your custom and support. It has been much appreciated.

The second half of 2018 has been very challenging whilst I have recovered from a broken femur and at times I had felt very frustrated I was unable to offer my services to you. I can now say that it has given me time to reflect and plan what we will be doing in the future and I do hope you will join us at one of our events as we get much pleasure in providing good food and ambiance.

We have just posted our 2019 dates up to June that will take place in a variety of venues and we could well be adding other dates at our home (secret) venue as well so watch this space. All events are open for booking and we will also be posting more details of menus and prices nearer to each event. If you wish to reserve your spaces now please just complete the booking form on our Events Page .

We hope you have a great festive season and it brings you much joy and happiness. We are excited to get cooking again in 2019 and hope we can welcome you all to our table and a fine meal at some stage.

Merry Christmas

Hari Covert and his team